Tag Archives: family memories

What’s in a name? & other thoughts on TAE’s 2nd Blogoversary.

Standard

What’s in a name? Are you happy with the name your parents bestowed upon you? Do you believe that particular name has impacted how you see yourself and/or how others view you?

My name almost didn’t happen. My daddy had different plans. I was supposed to be “Angel Lamar” (Lamar was my father’s middle name). Now, when I think of that moniker, I find myself hearing a certain tune by David Rose . . . and a sultry voice saying, “Take it off. Take it ALLLL off . . .” (I could only think of fellow RA blogger AgzyM of I Want to Be a Pin-Up when I saw Miss Von Teese.)

However, one of my aunts by marriage (possibly envisioning the old bump and grind herself) made a suggestion. “Why don’t you name her ‘Angela Wood’ instead?” And so “Angel Lamar Killough” (Future Exotic Dancer?) morphed into “Angela Wood Killough” (Dreamy-Eyed Bookish Schoolgirl that I grew to be).

angiebaby

Baby girl Angela Wood. No stripper pole in her future.

Now, the “Wood” comes from my mother’s side–it was her maiden name. I loved my first name, but really disliked my middle name when I was growing up. My sisters called me (among other things) Woody (as in the cartoon character Woody the Woodpecker, as this was long before “Toy Story”). I pined for a “normal” middle name like “Leigh” or “Lynn.”

woody-woodpecker

HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!! I heard Woody’s distinctive laugh a lot when I was a kid. *sigh*

Only when I was older did it sink in that my aunt’s suggestion was simply one following a “fine ole sutthun tradition” . . . of using a family name as a middle name. (It’s not unusual for them to be used as a first name, either. My dad had a cousin named “Killough Pollard.” I must say I am mighty glad I didn’t end up named “Wood.” I mean, do I look that thick?)

So while I eventually came to terms with my middle name, I never quibbled over my first name. I liked it, liked its classical roots.

Angela: from the Greek angelos, “heavenly messenger.”  It came into use in English in the 18th century, and is most commonly used in English, Italian, German and Romanian. Common pet version is Angie (btw, only my immediate family called me “Angie” until I went away to college. Then everybody called me that or “Ang.” And “Angie” I have been ever since . . .)

So “Angel” or “Angela,” my name means the same. I’ve been a teacher and a newspaper writer and columnist, so I suppose you could say I’ve been a messenger of sorts.  For the past couple of years here at The Armitage Effect, I’ve been preaching the gospel of TDHBEW, one might say. For the last few months, I have also been sharing the Armitage goodness at my RA Facebook page, “The Richard Armitage Effect.” I now have 426 “likes” over there–not bad. Of course, you have to blame it on the Beautiful One and the very real effect he has on so many of us possessing the Good Taste Gene.

Thank you to all who have supported this blog by reading, commenting, linking and reblogging. I don’t know everything year three will hold for me or for our wonderful fella. More Thorin, a big twister he’d BETTER survive . . . and what else? We may all be surprised along the way . . . come what may, thanks for being YOU, Mr. A.

heavenly

angieraedit1_250[1]

BeFunky_1379775_218030331691618_1408719523_n.png

Thorin and I remember; or, the case of the curious Christmas

Standard

A screencap I snaffled from Fernanda Matias on FB. My edit. Thorin about to enter Erebor and be flooded with memories . . .

BeFunky_thorinatdoor.png

So do I, Thorin. Remember, that is. I never lived in a splendid hall inside a mountain as a majestic prince of the realm, but I do remember life as it used to be. As I used to be, before so much loss–family members, pets, good health, a regular paycheck, a certain child-like whimsy that Benny really enjoyed. It sometimes eludes me now. Is it inevitable that we lose some of that as we become older and suffer those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune of which Shakespeare wrote?

~~~

What were you like, Thorin, in those earlier, more carefree days, before the sickness came, and the dragon, and so much death and destruction and loss in your life, I wonder? Even with the responsibilities of a dwarf prince on your shoulders, did you smile that glorious smile more often, and laugh heartily? Did you dance and sing? Did you ever flirt with some pretty young dwarf and fall in love at least a little? I like to think you did. I want to think you had those memories, even as painful as they might have been at times, to hold tight to.

~~~

I remember what a true holiday elf I once was, creating my own Christmas cards or, at the least, embellishing the envelopes with original drawings; making goodies and taking them to friends, often wearing my “elf shoes” (red suede Reeboks with glittery green laces and golden jingle bells) and Santa cap (assuming it wasn’t 80 degrees–ah, December in Alabama!)

BeFunky_secret sis mom and me 1.jpg
I remember taking my mom to holiday bazaars and Christmas parades in Greenville and Georgiana for as long as she was able to go, and driving around with my sweet mother-in-law to see the Christmas lights after dark. Sneaking into the old farmhouse to deposit treats in the stockings I bought for my folks that hung over the living room fireplace . . . good memories.

~~~

It has been a most curious holiday season for us this year. No presents for one another. No Christmas tree or decorations, save for the Santa sleigh I had hanging on the front door. Scarlett Kitty is still too young and rambunctious to attempt a tree, assuming I had felt like putting up and decorating one. Most days I just didn’t.  I have looked at my friends’ posts on FB and felt more than a twinge of envy, even as I took pleasure in the beautiful faces of their kids and grandkids and nieces and nephews as they posed in their new Christmas PJs or showed off that new toy or game they’d been pining for. The whole family posing for photos . . .

The last family Christmas together before my father was felled by a major stroke.

BeFunky_Image2-1timeline.jpg

My brother-in-law had a stroke this year, not, thank heavens, a major one. Serious enough, however, to cause a lot of mental confusion at times and great worry over the state of his health, which led to one ER and doctor visit after another. He kept awakening in the wee hours complaining of various aches and pains, anxious and fretful.

For my sis, it brought back painful memories of what we endured with our parents.It’s taken a terrible toll on my sister, although she wouldn’t complain to you. My BIL recently had a number of tests done and they have ruled out a reoccurrence of his cancer and any bacterial infections. Tomorrow–or should I say, later today–they will find out the results of the other tests. I so wish I could be with my sister for moral support, to give her a big, long hug.  That’s her in the middle, with the sweet smile. An angel, that one.

~~~

No family Christmas together for us this year, so no family group photos. But my sweet niece–the cute blonde in the middle of the top photo, which was their Christmas card photo–posted these pix on FB.

1489242_10153606279920581_1034455204_n

BeFunky_thegirls.png I can’t believe how those girls of hers are growing up. I send them virtual hugs and hope for next Christmas.

~~

If our homes are where our hearts are, has your home always been back in Erebor, Thorin? Is my home in the past irretrievable, because there is no key that can open that door and return it to me? I hold on to my memories of being younger, stronger, thinner, prettier, an earner, a right old “Who” at Christmas who could afford to buy presents for her family members without selling her jewelry to do it, who still had all her family members alive and well, whose brain and body didn’t keep betraying her . . .

~~~

I suppose I want the Christmases of old just as I want the Angie of old. But I also know I can’t go back, I can only try to go forward as the person I am now, for better or for worse.  Like you, Thorin, I have my quest before me.  I know not what 2014 will bring, but I wish to face it with loyalty to my husband, family and friends, honor and a willing heart. You taught me that.

2e6fb2e4_o

Priscilla, you still inspire me.

Standard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Back Porch Screen Door” by Angie Long

My former high school art teacher, who moved mainly into the arena of fine art photography a number of years ago, has been on my mind. She’s also an animal lover and fellow board member of the local humane society and I know she will love our new “additions.” It’s great to have someone who was a mentor to you when you were young become a friend as an adult.  We are a generation apart in age, but we are still kindred spirits and that always bridges the gap.

I took some photos this afternoon during the afternoon walkies with the canines and did some editing that I rather liked. Definitely feeling very artsy-fartsy. Priscilla, you still inspire me–and plenty of others, I am certain. Thanks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Puppy”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Sky Meets Screen Door

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“My Old Bedroom Window”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Mama’s Clothespins”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Daffodils”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Daddy’s Barometer”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Farmhouse on March Day”

Friday Diary on a Saturday: Canines, cotton barns, porches and–have you ever seen one of these?

Standard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Friday was another beautiful if chilly day here in Lower Alabama. Our guests were still with us, as you can see.  They seem quite at home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Puppy continued to share those looks. Geez, they don’t call them “puppy dog eyes” for nothing, do they? Time for our walkies, boys (and girl)!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The new grass, kelly green, that has sprouted in the recent rains, heralds the coming spring. That old barn, once used to store cotton from my grandfather’s vast fields, later to store wood shavings for the family’s poultry houses, is now a sort of large-scale dog house for the family canines. Weather-proof, it shields from rain and wind and provides a cozy bed courtesy of those same shavings.  Puppy just had to explore!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the brick front porch of the old farmhouse, which will be 75 years old in 2014. The house was built in the late 30s following a fire that destroyed the rambling two-story Victorian in which my daddy’s large family had grown up.  The fire (of mysterious origins. Arson was suspected but never proven) also took one of several barns and a shed with vehicles. My dad was in his teens when all this happened. A fear of fire never left him.

Even though the family was downsizing (most of the ten living children now adults and on their own) my grandfather still took the blueprints for the new house and had all the rooms enlarged and extra closets added–the Victorian house possessing a distinct lack of said conveniences.  And while the new farmhouse lacked the elegant wrap-around veranda of its predecessor, it did have three porches, one of them accessible from two of the house’s bedrooms (including my own).

Later, my father built a rather rustic wooden back porch. What it lacked in eye candy appeal,  it made up for in convenience. It was a perfect place for shelling peas and beans from the garden, dressing chickens from the poultry houses, and enjoying homemade ice cream and salted slices of watermelons plucked from the big deep freeze.

When my mother was still alive, our dogs used to enjoy commuting between the two houses, spending some time lounging on the cool bricks of the front porch on hot summer days.  My parents had a small ceiling fan installed years earlier to make it more comfortable for humans and canines alike.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rascal (he of the soulful cinnamon brown eyes) still enjoys stretching out on the farmhouse’s brick porch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I used to stretch out on this very–pillar?–what do you call the porch portions flanking the steps?–as a girl on summer Saturdays.  Armed with a Popeye fruit-flavored frozen treat and a good book, I would let the sun dry my freshly shampooed waist-length tresses.  My lips turned some peculiar shades of orange or purple as I lost myself in an engaging story . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Elvis–who ain’t nothing but a hound dog. Well, one-quarter bloodhound and who knows what else! 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As I said, it was another beautiful day!

But here’s the thing I am wondering if you’ve ever seen before . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yep, a genuine outhouse. This is located behind the chicken coop, the one where my grandmother once collected eggs ( I have her basket atop my kitchen cabinets). The coop is now the storage shed for the riding lawnmower.

I have no idea how far back this outhouse dates, but judging by the concrete pad for it and the toilet itself, it’s a more upscale 20th century form of privy.  The chicken coop is adjacent to what is known as the cook’s house or little house, so I am guessing it was built in the 2os or 30s when that house was constructed (a bathroom was added to a side porch at some point).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For a short time after their marriage, my parents lived in the little house, which is built shotgun style, each room backing onto another. If you shot a gun through the front door, it would go straight through into the back door (or wall, in this case).  Meanwhile, back to the privy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The seat bears a plate stating it’s “odorless” and was manufactured in Andalusia, Ala. I didn’t lift the seat to test things out.

And yes, the farmhouse where I grew up had indoor plumbing, although my mom always wished for a second bathroom, what with three girls and periodic guests. 😉

Oh, Mama and her son are ready to move on!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA